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In lieu of some biological problem or some deep-set long-term psychological condition . . .

Those are the only causes anybody here has been suggesting. You mentioned, "I find it difficult to imagine that someone could be born with a penis and yet have female chromosomes . . ." This isn't going to be strongly convincing to you since it is just anecdotal and I don't have medical documentation to back it up, but one person I've known who is transgendered of the born-looking-male-but-contends-they-are-actually-female variety once told me some years back that her doctor told her that while getting doing some other medical testing, they just so happened to find that she actually did have XX chromosomes. I don't really think that something like that being the case has necessarily got to be why anybody who is transgender is that way or that if they don't have this chromosomal issue that they aren't legitimate, I don't know enough to say such a thing, but I did find this case interesting and a bit thought provoking. The more salient point though on why I find it pretty surely has to be the case that there is either a biological goof somewhere in there or the cause perhaps is of the psychological variety that is very deep set and long term is, as I mentioned in an earlier post, this just isn't something that psychological therapy can fix. It has been tried and failed over and over and over. Either there is some biological fact in there that you can't just talk out of existence or there is some psychological issue that is just way too far gone to just convince somebody out of, like you may as well be trying to demolish a mountain with a squirt gun. It's futile.

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I say this because no one has pointed out the facts that would make someone a female "gender" even though he is born with a penis.

Not that I want to get wrapped up on this argument, because I don't. But this can happen. I'm familar with this since a Bong girl had this happen to her (I'm a big Jame Bond fan).

Introducing Caroline "Tula" Cossey who was Barry Cossey before the sex change. She was born with a chromosome pattern of XXXY, which is very rare since XXY is more common.

tula02.jpg

She was in the film "For Your Eyes Only"

Edited by Spiral Architect

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The problem is that one's sex is all the way down to the sub-cellular level with the XY chromosomes in each cell, and I find it difficult to imagine that someone could be born with a penis and yet have female chromosomes or some other similar biological malfunction....And it is not just "body image" because as I have already indicated male or female goes all the way down to sub-cellular structures and functioning. Changing one's sex is not like changing one's hair color or getting breast implants; it is much more radical.

Are you under the impression that the genetic code for hair color or other such characteristics is not contained in each and every cell? People alter what is coded deep in their genome every day.

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Since we briefly touched on the Financial Crises / Great Recession and its causes, I would highly recommend this article by Richard Salsman in Forbes online. I first met Richard when he was lecturing at a mini Objectivist conference in either Austin or Houston when I lived in Dallas, and he is both an Objectivist and an economist. I recommend subscribing to his column, even though he has been pushing Romney for President, promoting the idea that Romney is a capitalist in spite of his socialized medicine in his state.

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Getting this thread back on topic, I asked around the various peoples who are supporting checking premises.org and none of them could come up with three examples of a subjectivist Objectivist (not even Chip, himself), making Chip's presentation a floating abstraction. Here's my take on it with examples to solidify the principle:

Well, no one else seems to be able to do it, so here is my presentation of the subjectivist Objectivist. It's not the position they take per se that makes them a subjectivist, but rather the fact that it can be shown that their position is incompatible with Objectivism, and yet they want to hold onto it in spite of the facts, thus placing an "I wish" over an "It is" making them subjectivists who are claiming to be Objectivists. Examples would be those who want to hold onto God, Libertarianism, Moral Tolerationism, ESP, and a slew of other isms -- including rebelling against the idea that the NYC Mosque ought to be prevented from being built.

See "To Students of Objectivism" for more examples.

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Well, no one else seems to be able to do it, so here is my presentation of the subjectivist Objectivist.

All right, let's work with this for a moment.

It's not the position they take per se that makes them a subjectivist, but rather the fact that it can be shown that their position is incompatible with Objectivism...

It "can be shown"? To whose satisfaction?

I guess I want to see whether there's a distinction, in your view, between this "subjectivist Objectivist" and... an Objectivist who is mistaken on some given issue. Is it enough that it "can be shown" that his position is incompatible? Or must the "subjectivist Objectivist" himself see that it is incompatible, yet dismiss that incompatibility as unimportant and soldier on in his claims?

...and yet they want to hold onto it in spite of the facts, thus placing an "I wish" over an "It is" making them subjectivists who are claiming to be Objectivists.

Of course "it is" is the primary consideration. And an Objectivist -- or any man of reason generally -- needs to adjust his thinking to the facts, and not attempt to cling to a vice-versa fantasy. But first a man must know what those facts are, and then he must successfully integrate them into his thinking. At best, this process takes time. At worst, a man may err. (Or perhaps, worse than that, we could speak of types of "evasions.")

Are you accounting for the nature of this process in your evaluations?

Examples would be those who want to hold onto God, Libertarianism, Moral Tolerationism, ESP, and a slew of other isms -- including rebelling against the idea that the NYC Mosque ought to be prevented from being built.

For instance, I have not given any great thought to the Mosque controversy (nor have I kept up with it; is it still an ongoing controversy)? But do you really mean to say that we can safely regard all those who disagree with you on that issue as "subjectivist"? There is no allowance needed for an Objectivist who might initially take the wrong position on that issue, yet not be a subjectivist?

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Whether someone just doesn't get it (still on the learning curve), or being evasive of the argument, or understanding the argument yet holding onto their side out of a desire for it to be right ( a subjectivist), is a judgement call very dependent on the context of the discussion and how well the integrated idea has been presented. For example, I wouldn't expect a beginner to understand why Kant was the most evil philosopher in history; but once one understands that all rational thought is based upon the evidence of the directly observed and that Kant outright denied that the directly observed is existence, then it takes quite the evasion to say that Kant really wasn't all that bad of a guy.

But the judgement call can certainly be a difficult one to make.

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OK, I have to ask about all of this. Considering how new I am to Objectivism as a “culture” (i.e. reading websites or talking to other like-minded people online) I might be misreading this at this stage (and please correct me if I am wrong) but…

Good Lord, what is it with Objectivists trying to condemn and attack each other like this. I have never seen a group a people that agree on so much focus so much energy on the few area’s they disagree on (whether true or not). Justice is the act of acknowledging a man’s virtues as well as his mistakes, except the positive part seems to have been completely written off the evaluation balance sheet of moral appraisal. I understand disagreeing with someone but a shakedown and condemnation against someone you likely agree with 90+% of philosophic issues? Really?

’m starting to think that if a self-described Objectivist ran for President many Objectivists would dedicate more space pontificating on that persons errors and moral faults to explain why he is unfit to be President rather than dedicating the same energy to a Barak Obama who obviously tips the moral evaluation meter into “Hell No” range.

Again, since I don’t want someone to take this out of context, I’m not claiming you cannot evaluate someone’s errors. I’m claiming an obsession by some people on focusing on that while ignoring the other half of the equation in evaluating someone’s virtues. Without the positives there is no proper evaluation of someone – You’re dropping context, and worse from what I have seen so far, some people seem to enjoy it too much. Benevolent Universe anyone?

Please tell me this evaluation is wrong.

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[...]

Good Lord, what is it with Objectivists trying to condemn and attack each other like this. I have never seen a group a people that agree on so much focus so much energy on the few area’s they disagree on (whether true or not).

[...]

Well, it's all about context. This forum is understood to be a place to discuss (sometimes debate) all sorts of issues. Clearly this isn't what we do "all of the time". Imagine if you spent all day in a public bathroom--imagine what sort of impression you would get of people then, if you didn't put that into context.

Moreover, when discussing things here, we're usually not making an evaluation about a whole person. It's not like we're not "taking that into account", but rather we're just not talking about that "right now".

Now, sometimes we do, given that we're debating philosophy, get into issues that indicate a wider personality flaw such as rationalism or dishonesty--and we'll call that out. In the case of the first, it's a matter of using unit economy and recognizing that all arguments coming from the counter-party will have the same problem; in the case of the second it indicates that you are not arguing with somebody interested in the truth.

But it's all about context, and it gets a little tricky here sometimes, surely...

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Well, it's all about context. This forum is understood to be a place to discuss (sometimes debate) all sorts of issues. Clearly this isn't what we do "all of the time". Imagine if you spent all day in a public bathroom--imagine what sort of impression you would get of people then, if you didn't put that into context.

Moreover, when discussing things here, we're usually not making an evaluation about a whole person. It's not like we're not "taking that into account", but rather we're just not talking about that "right now".

Now, sometimes we do, given that we're debating philosophy, get into issues that indicate a wider personality flaw such as rationalism or dishonesty--and we'll call that out. In the case of the first, it's a matter of using unit economy and recognizing that all arguments coming from the counter-party will have the same problem; in the case of the second it indicates that you are not arguing with somebody interested in the truth.

But it's all about context, and it gets a little tricky here sometimes, surely...

First, thank you. Next, sorry I was vague on my own critique. I didn’t mean to call out this site (even if the issue has popped up a few times). I joined this site because it was the first I found that is like you said. I like the focus here and the people are well informed, making it great to read or participate.

My post was about some of the other sites I found. Checking Premises is one but before I even started here I bumped into other forums that seemed really bad, plus I have read some blogs including noodlefood where I found that author gleefully ripping into Objectivists. The later of course makes it ironic since she ended up on the receiving end of the same treatment but the whole situation is a shame.

It’s disappointing to see so many Objectivists eat their own. It’s disturbing to see what a sport it can become.

Like I said, I hope I’m wrong and this is a case of suffering from limited exposure or the wrong exposure. That is why I finally had to ask.

Edited by Spiral Architect

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Good Lord, what is it with Objectivists trying to condemn and attack each other like this. I have never seen a group a people that agree on so much focus so much energy on the few area’s they disagree on (whether true or not). Justice is the act of acknowledging a man’s virtues as well as his mistakes, except the positive part seems to have been completely written off the evaluation balance sheet of moral appraisal. I understand disagreeing with someone but a shakedown and condemnation against someone you likely agree with 90+% of philosophic issues? Really?

Sometimes, I believe that some Objectivists interpret what we might initially view as a "surface disagreement" (the 10% of disagreement) as being indicative of deep discord, hidden from view. So while you stipulate a likely 90+% of agreement, sometimes in my view dissenting Objectivists see each other as "wolves-in-sheep's-clothing," with little-to-no honest agreement, but a masked agenda to praise Kant, denigrate Rand, destroy reason, and etc. The resultant arguments proceed with about the civility you'd expect.

That said, I don't believe that's a rational approach in most circumstances (or nearly any circumstances, to be frank), and I don't think it has to be that way here. I believe that there's room for honest disagreement and passionate discussion (including, yes, a focus on the few areas upon which we disagree, which I don't think necessarily improper), without condemnation and the adversarial feeling that often seems to pervade.

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Good Lord, what is it with Objectivists trying to condemn and attack each other like this.
It is a downer for sure, particularly when members on both sides of such schisms want to promote their shared views outside the movement. Then, it becomes disappointing because time spent on "in fighting" is time not spent fighting externally. Also, one comes to a point when one thinks: "wow! there are 5 times the Objectivists than when I first read Rand", then three schisms later the group with which you really interact with is down to (say) a sixth of its peak!

You say you're relatively new to the Objectivist "culture". Still, you might know that schisms are really nothing new. I'm not trying to depress you further :) , but just the opposite. The fact is that through all this, the number of people reading Rand has continued to grow, and Rand's influence has not ebbed. Further, its a pretty good guess that Objectivists interact more with other Objectivists today than they did two decades ago. It's a bit like a boom-bust cycle, with an upward secular trend.

Also, consider examples from history. Islam has Shia and Sunni denominations, and there are regions where these two see each other as primary enemies, and others (infidels) as being more of "enemies in theory". Within Shia and Sunni, there are further divisions. Similarly, look at the Christian church: it divided into Catholic and others over issues that would seem really silly to outsiders. Then, came Martin Luther and another major schism. And, look at the U.S. today with all sorts of independent churches. It doesn't seem to harm the core Christian cause. The Christians have had an uphill fight against reason-based philosophies, but I doubt they'd have done "better" if they'd all stayed under the umbrella of the Catholic church. The same pattern of fracturing and growth can be seen across most other major religions. Even Buddhism has its schism.

In general, some of these historical schisms are based on a disagreement about some core idea, while others are based on personality and politics. Of course, often the two are wrapped together: something that would have remained a disagreement on which collaborators agree to disagree can become a schism when personalities grate or when one or both sides are jockeying for power and influence.

I'm not trying imply that schism are pointless or that they're "just politics" etc. On the contrary, some schisms end up helping. the obvious effect of a schism is that -- when the dust dies down -- each side feels that it has cut off a group of people who are diverting it from its core business. When the schism is in progress, things can get really petty: people can focus on much more than just the core argument... they can get personal about all sorts of personal things. It really is pretty sad when one sees a person you thought was sensible being petty and irrational. I know Objectivist friends who have stopped claiming to be Objectivists on forums etc. because they don't want to argue about whether the label really ought to apply to them or not. Either way, it is not going to change their philosophy.

Basically, every schism among Objectivists has been based on one of two things: sometimes a group sees another group as being dogmatic (i.e. as trying to limit Objectivism to some specific concrete), and thinks Objectivism as a movement should distance itself from dogmatists. At other times, a group sees another group as being subjectivist (i.e. as trying to expand Objectivism to support ideas that are antithetical to it) , and thinks Objectivism as a movement should distance itself from subjectivists.

From my years of interacting with Objectivists, I have come across some who are dogmatic and some who are subjectivist. I have less in common with these people than I have with some more rational non-Objectivists. I think Objectivism as a movement would be well rid of both errors. Mostly, it seemide futile to argue with these folk: there is some deep epistemological-divide which I'm not competent to bridge.

It is depressing when personality and pettiness play a large role in the schisms. this happens all too often. I've seen enmities start over whether some view is too subjectivist or dogmatic, but morph into personal insults about what papers someone reads, about past friendships, and even people's weight! Then you have one side going out of its way to scorn and mock any little mistake of the other side. That's the type of thing that depresses me. I think the only solution is to constantly remind oneself not to let other people set one's agenda, to remind oneself that one is not going to let the tail wag the dog, and to remind oneself that happiness comes from a focus on values rather than on dis-value. Further, I remind myself that when the dust settles, Objectivism as a movement will be stronger as long as the right people still continue to do the right thing.

I don;t think one is going to end schism. I think the healthy solution is to deal with them by encouraging splits. Years ago, I'd have thought this was the worst thing possible: fragmenting the movement. However, I now think this is the healthiest approach. Like the various denominations in some religions, it might actually allow each group to pursue its aims more peacefully, and without having to deal with the other. The net effect might be to promote, rather than to detract from, any common goals they still share.

So, for instance, if there is some serious schism on a forum, I think there comes a point when the healthiest thing is to set up a separate forum. When one chat room gets too petty and personal, it might be healthiest to set up another. In the past, I have offered to help people set such things up: not because I love "helping the competition" but because I think it is healthier than trying to get along when one has crossed a certain line.

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SoftwareNerd,

More schisms! Original approach, and half-playfully I'm imagining it taken to its

logical, absurd outcome - each Objectivist becoming his own Independent Institution.

Yup, *individualists* would you believe?! Where we started.

Seriously, though, as has probably been mentioned, it is all becoming ridiculous.

If one O'ist tends toward dogmatism, and another to intrincism, another, subjectivism, etc,

I for one have confidence that they will correct those as they go along. Simply because

I know I will, to the best of my ability. (And if that's subjectivist, too bad.)

O'ism's methodology, and plain-old not so simple living, will eventually reveal wrong premises,

more truthfully than any 'premise checker' group will - and with none of the authoritarianism.

Biggest certainty is that I have more in common with some guy or woman in Baltimore,

or Cedar Falls, or wherever, than with my next-door neighbors. And I get on fine with them, usually.

Let's not 'glorify' our minor distinctions.

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Let's not 'glorify' our minor distinctions.
Just to clarify, nothing in my post was meant to glorify "our minor distinctions". A "schism" happens when there is a group of people who view themselves as a group, based on a shared ideology, and that group then splits into fairly large parts (i.e. not just a small percentage of people walking away) based on what they explain as being ideological differences. As I said, often the underlying cause of a schism is personality and interpersonal relationships. The schisms in major religions are hardly based on objectively larger differences than you see among Objectivists -- a lot of personality and politics was in play for most of those schisms.

We are clearly in the middle of what is perhaps the third or fourth major schism among Objectivists. It is simply a fact, regardless of whether it is justified or not. It is simply a fact that among one rough grouping of self-identified Objectivists, a sizable proportion of people who thought of themselves as part of that group are taking sides forming two sub-groups. Not everyone is aligned with one sub-group or the other, but I'd say that a majority are. People from each sub-group are attacking people from other sub-group. People who are not taking sides, or only mildly agreeing with one side, are being asked to disavow people on the other side, and so on. This is a schism in my definition.

Are you saying these are not the facts, or are you saying the word "schism" is too glorious a description for these facts? I don't think the situation is much different from other historical schisms, but I'm fine if you wish to use a different work to describe this social split. Whatever word you use, enmities are being formed and people are explaining this by pointing to ideological differences (along with personal ones) with the other side.

Edited by softwareNerd

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[...]remind oneself that happiness comes from a focus on values rather than on dis-value.

I think this is the most important, and everyone would do well to give this a serious ponder anew. And in this same vein, what I don't understand about the pettiness is, who has the time? Say your say, and move on! The Internet will permanently catalog your opinion about this or that for anyone to read, any time he wants.

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Just to clarify, nothing in my post was meant to glorify "our minor distinctions". A "schism" happens when there is a group of people who view themselves as a group, based on a shared ideology, and that group then splits into fairly large parts (i.e. not just a small percentage of people walking away) based on what they explain as being ideological differences. As I said, often the underlying cause of a schism is personality and interpersonal relationships. The schisms in major religions are hardly based on objectively larger differences than you see among Objectivists -- a lot of personality and politics was in play for most of those schisms.

We are clearly in the middle of what is perhaps the third or fourth major schism among Objectivists. It is simply a fact, regardless of whether it is justified or not. It is simply a fact that among one rough grouping of self-identified Objectivists, a sizable proportion of people who thought of themselves as part of that group are taking sides forming two sub-groups. Not everyone is aligned with one sub-group or the other, but I'd say that a majority are. People from each sub-group are attacking people from other sub-group. People who are not taking sides, or only mildly agreeing with one side, are being asked to disavow people on the other side, and so on. This is a schism in my definition.

Are you saying these are not the facts, or are you saying the word "schism" is too glorious a description for these facts? I don't think the situation is much different from other historical schisms, but I'm fine if you wish to use a different work to describe this social split. Whatever word you use, enmities are being formed and people are explaining this by pointing to ideological differences (along with personal ones) with the other side.

I regret I was not clear enough.

Celebrating our mutuality, rather than seeking out our differences, is my core point.

I don't understand schisms rooted in the interpersonal - ESPECIALLY within Objectivism -

but accept it has been a phenomenon of our history. The 'big split' had some

hallmarks of this: personality conflict, followed by rationalized intellectual

differences. Are we condemned to forever repeat our past?

Ayn Rand, by virtue of a giant intellect, possessed authority; and, she tirelessly

advocated for self-authority of mind; then, contradictorily, she occasionally

lapsed into authoritarianism. Only she, and she alone, could pull that off, imo.

No one who followed her, no matter how brilliant, had and has that same right: to impose

knowledge by authority alone.

If the present schism is as you see it, "a social split", well of course everyone

should go where they're most comfortable.

To "disavow others" in the process contradicts that, though. The exact 'false dichotomy

of mutual exclusivity' O'ists hear often from interested parties("But if you stand for this, then you must automatically oppose/support that!")is now being self-applied. So we descend to sub-categories of "us" and "them".

Invented ideological differences, or insoluble ones, the fact remains we are closer than

we think. I urge some perspective, and being objective about Objectivism.

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Ayn Rand, by virtue of a giant intellect, possessed authority; and, she tirelessly

advocated for self-authority of mind; then, contradictorily, she occasionally

lapsed into authoritarianism. Only she, and she alone, could pull that off, imo.

No one who followed her, no matter how brilliant, had and has that same right: to impose

knowledge by authority alone.

She was not exercising a right, nor did she "impose knowledge", she had earned respect.

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She was not exercising a right, nor did she "impose knowledge", she had earned respect.

It's your conviction then, that once respect is earned, one may revert

to authority? Anyway, I covered that with her "right" - by which I mean her

'moral' right. And was Rand never authoritarian, in your opinion?

It's clear that I emphasize that this was the exception, not the rule.

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What does "authoritarian" mean? She certainly had no formal or legal authority over any persons in her circle, unlike the relation of a parent to a child which is formal and legal.

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:dough: Yes, sometimes I feel like I hitting my head against a brick wall around here. Objectivism qua philosophy is really the only thing standing between total collapse and preserving civilization. Everyone else is either a Platonist (that led to the Dark Ages), a Kantian (which really comes down to nihilistic reality hatred), or pragmatism (which tries to cover all sides of an issue in an unprincipled manner, just to play it safe.) In that regard, it is extremely important that Objectivism be recognized as Objectivism and not some watered down version not based upon the policy of objectivity -- of thinking about the facts of reality. It's not really the case that we sit around and attack each other for minor differences. Yes, there can be very heated discussions, but I think one ought to keep in mind that the first Renaissance was a very contentious time period; and this one will be, too. But one thing we cannot tolerate is someone claiming that Objectivism is one thing when it is not that thing at all. Objectivism is a philosophy, and those new to it don't know how to think in terms of Objectivism yet, so sometimes they are given a little flack. But when someone has been studying Objectivism for a long time and misrepresents it, then it is time to cut them off. I mean, if you want to live your own life in a host of contradictions, it's your life, but we don't have to condone it. This is something students of Objectivism have to find out for themselves, evidently, because lots has been written on it; sometimes I think to no avail. This thread was started because there are those long-term Objectivists who think that Diana Hsieh is misrepresenting Objectivism. And it is something that needs serious consideration. It's not the same thing as bashing someone who is 90% right, because that is the wrong way of thinking about it. It's not a percentage game it is a principled action, one way or the other.

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What does "authoritarian" mean? She certainly had no formal or legal authority over any persons in her circle, unlike the relation of a parent to a child which is formal and legal.

Grames, I would rather focus on the positive aspects.

As is commonly known, Rand implicitly and explicitly repeated that Objectivists should never accept any authority over their minds - especially, and even her own:

"The most selfish of all things is the independent mind that recognizes no authority higher than its own and no value higher than its judgment of truth."

From this, I take that it is irrational to enshrine any authoritative figure since a. he or she can make mistakes; b. far more importantly, it interferes with one's own relationship with reality.

"...an error made on your own is safer than ten truths accepted on faith, because the first leaves you the means to correct it, but the second destroys your capacity to distinguish truth from error."[Galt]

I know that Peikoff has made some brilliant contributions to O'ism; similarly, Kelley has been of great value to me (and the fact they are at a seemingly insoluble intellectual impasse doesn't escape me - but 'to choose one side' is an error of mutual exclusion, in my mind). I am just as certain that in (due to?) his prolific Podcast output, LP has made some rationalistic errors in recent times.

That Diana Hsieh honestly pointed them out should not draw such virulent criticism, nor put her beyond the pale. He should thank her. :)

Thankfully, none of us is omniscient. Without deliberately going out to make them, in my view, one is not really trying hard, unless one does make mistakes...to then correct them.

Objectivist principles are not only contained within a set of books, but in the life and mind (errors and all) of each of us. They are not a suit of armor, nor a straitjacket, nor a hair-shirt - they are a tool and a guide with a singular purpose.

Edited by whYNOT

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Grames, I would rather focus on the positive aspect.

As is commonly known, Rand implicitly and explicitly repeated that Objectivists should never accept any authority over their minds - especially, and even her own.

"The most selfish of all things is the independent mind that recognizes no authority higher that its own and no value higher than its judgment of truth."

From this, I take that it is irrational to enshrine any authoritative figure since a. he or she can make mistakes; b. far more importantly, it interferes with one's own relationship with reality.

"...an error made on your own is safer than ten truths accepted on faith, because the first leaves you the means to correct it, but the second destroys your capacity to distinguish truth from error."[Galt]

Ok, but what does 'authoritarian' mean? If some have taken truths identified by Ayn Rand on faith, that is their fault not Ayn Rand's fault and does not make her into an authoritarian.

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Dr.Peikoff has weighed in on the issue of applications of Objectivism and determining if someone can still be called an Objectivist if the application has been proven to be false or not an application of Objectivism. I think this podcast is germane to this thread, as it is the primary accusation Checking Premises is making against Diana Hsieh.

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I think this podcast is germane to this thread, as it is the primary accusation Checking Premises is making against Diana Hsieh.
The podcast is something both sides in this debate would readily agree with. While you see somehow see it as a basis that supports CheckingPremises, in fact it supports Diana Hsieh's position and is a rebuttal of Chip Joyce's essays. In fact, it is abstract enough that both sides would agree it is right, as such. Therefore, if by "germane" you meant it addresses the argument in this thread; no, it does not.

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